I am reading a book by Martha Beck called the Joy Diet, and even though it is not easy reading, I would highly recommend it. I have had it for six months now and I am only half way through it. It is not a book that you read once and put on the shelf. It is a book to work through and put into practise one small step at a time.
In one chapter it challenged me to “tell myself the truth”. That seems simple enough to do, right? Tell yourself the truth? Should be, but isn’t. Sometimes we tell ourselves such stories about the truth of a situation, and then suffer so much senseless emotional pain as a result.
Let me give you a quote from this chapter, it says it so much clearer than I can…
“Author and teacher Byron Katie learned this dramatically in her early forties when she ended decades of rage, depression, and self-hatred by addressing her mind’s stories with intense inquiry about the real truth of her experience. In her wonderfully useful book “Loving What Is”, Katie describes how this worked on a night when her daughter, who at the time was abusing drugs and alcohol, failed to come home.
The thoughts that would appear in my mind were thoughts like these:
’……she’ll drive, and she’ll kill someone, she’ll crash into another car or a lamppost and kill herself and her passengers.’ As the thoughts appeared, each one was met with wordless, thoughtless inquiry. And inquiry instantly brought me back to reality. Here is what was true; woman sitting in chair waiting for her beloved daughter.'
Katie’s method of inquiry, which I highly recommend, requires that you identify painful issues in your own life, examine the stories you tell yourself about the situation, and notice that these stories often have little to do with the “clean pain” or “truth” of genuine experience.”
This little section of this one chapter has been worth the cost of the whole book to me. Now when my imagination runs away with me, as it often does, and I am tempted to worry about my daughter travelling alone, or the health of a family member, or the state of the economy, or… any number of other things. I stop myself short and challenge every thought. What is the truth of the situation? The truth and only the truth, nothing else. I mustn't read into the situation what could happen, or what the other person might be thinking or doing. Just tell myself the truth and move forward from there!!!!
This has been wonderfully freeing. All the wild imaginings are quieted and I am at peace. The old quote from the Bible, "You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free", is really true. Try it, you’ll like it. Tell yourself the truth.